North Hollywood, synagogue, Jewish, hate crime, photo, social media Unsettling North Hollywood Synagogue Photo Provokes Fear, Disgust – CBS Los Angeles

NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — An eerie photo taken in front of a synagogue in North Hollywood is making its way around social media, provoking reactions of fear, anger and disgust.

A user identified as Noah Oiknine on Facebook says he took the picture himself Friday afternoon. In a post on the social media site, he recalled seeing a man with his head covered and sword in his hand making threatening gestures towards the Chabad.

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Brian Levin is a domestic terrorism expert. He says tensions are high among some in the Jewish community after the mass synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

“We just had the worst act of anti-Semitic violence in American history,” Levin said.

“Anytime you see a picture like that, you gotta take it seriously,” he continued. “And there’s also federal laws governing interference and harassment of religious institutions and affiliated buildings.”

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There have been incidents of hate crime in Los Angeles as well.

Last month, 32-year-old Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, of Seattle, was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly trying to run down two people outside of a synagogue in Hancock Park.

“Synagogue security is a big deal – as well as other houses of worship that we’re seeing nationally,” Levin added.

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CBS2/KCAL9 spoke with a spokesperson for the local Council on American-Islamic Relations. They said they did not know if the person depicted in the photo has a connection to the Muslim community nor if the incident was real or a hoax; however, they said they stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and are glad no one was hurt.